Woe!

Posted by James Hahn on

Monday August 28th - Saint Augustine, bishop and doctor

Books on / by Saint Augustine

Saint Augustine and the World, the Flesh, and the Devil by James M. Hahn

Matthew 23:12-22

I don't often think of Jesus letting folks "have it." But occasionally He does. Today's Gospel is in the midst of an onslaught of rebukes directed towards the Scribes and Pharisees. For nearly two full chapters Jesus has been challenged and questioned by the teachers of the Law and now He shoots back.

To often I imagine myself standing behind Jesus as he rebukes people. Like a weak sidekick, I stand behind and off to the side and say, "Yeah, what He said." I like to imagine that I am on the right side and those rebukes are always given to everyone but me.

But I must be realistic. Afterall, if Jesus saw fit to call Peter "Satan" then I should not be surprised to find myself at the sharp end of Our Lord's rebukes. In today's Gospel Jesus speaks harshly to the Pharisees. So much for the "Jesus-loves-you-no-matter-what" kindergarten approach to Christ. He points to their hypocrisy in word and practice. He shows them how they have lost sight of what God has called them to.

Lord Jesus, although this prayer is hard to pray I cry out to You, "show me my hypocrisy." Let me see the areas of my life that pull me away from what is important. Give me the wisdom to understand how I focus on giving myself glory while claiming to give You glory. Woe to you, Jim, for you...

FROM THE SAINTS
- Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you! You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you. In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which you created. You were with me, but I was not with you. Created things kept me from you; yet if they had not been in you they would not have been at all. You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness. You flashed, you shone, and you dispelled my blindness. You breathed your fragrance on me;; I drew in breath and now I pant for you. I have tasted you, now I hunger and thirst for more. You touched me and I burned for your peace.
- From the Confessions of Saint Augustine

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